Hey Guys!! What’s up? How’s your week going? I don’t know why I’m asking you questions, you can’t respond! Anyway, this week has been stressful for me. It’s all been work, work, work, sleep, work, work, eat, work, sleep, work. Sometimes I feel like there is no time to myself or to just get away and relax. But then there’s that time of week when my stress level goes down drastically. Tuesdays, Wednesdays, and Fridays are the three days a week that I just stop what I’m doing and have fellowship with some friends.
Fridays I have a small group bible study with a couple of my friends, Tuesday nights I have a small group for guys, and then Wednesdays I attend Kairos. These groups are a huge part of my week. I feel like I have a little taste of my Sabbath in every one of them. Are you involved in a small group of some sort? Yes? No? Well you should be! Small groups, or even big groups, are a vital part of fellowship and really help you grow through your faith. Why should we have only one Sabbath day a week dedicated to relaxing and just resting? Why not have Sabbath moments throughout the week as well?
I urge you guys to join a small group, whether it’s one of MNU’s organized small groups or even just a small group of friends getting together and studying God’s word. Groups like Kairos are also an excellent way to just have time together and fellowship. These are all an awesome part of my college experience. Whether you are already a student at MNU or even a future Pioneer looking into joining a small group is one easy step to developing a healthy college experience, and it’s a great way to further develop your relationship with God. So just ask around about small groups or even start one with your friends. I promise you won’t regret it.
This morning we had the privilege of listening to Cris Zimmermann speak about his ministry in Frankfurt, Germany. This young pastor began sharing with us a book he has been reading as of late called God is Not a Christian written by Archbishop Desmond Tutu. In this book the Archbishop shares of a crucifix he found in a church in which Jesus had no arms or legs. The meaning behind it was that, as the church, we are to be the hands and feet of Jesus in the world. That, as his disciples, we are to be the answer to the world’s begging question, “Where is God?”
As he began to speak he commanded my respect. He spoke with no words of eloquence or brilliance. He wasn’t beaming with charisma in which everyone was drawn to him. Nor did he command attention because of his long list of credentials or accomplishments. Rather, he commanded my respect because of his simple perusal of making this man on a cross relevant to our current world.
It all began with a group of 12 college students in Frankfurt. Together with Zimmermann, they began to brainstorm ideas on how they could be the hands and feet of Jesus in their own city. A specific pub was brought to their attention where a consistent community of people gathered regularly, not just to have a drink, but also to simply be together. Zimmermann and the students began to integrate themselves into this community, and after collaborating with the owner, began raising money with them to build a well in Africa. The pub family included, they began reaching out to the homeless community in the area as well and started establishing relationships with them. From there, other pubs began to get involved and the influence of the once small group began to grow and grow, involving people of all kinds.
It’s easy to look at the task ahead and be intimidated. To allow the fear that so easily creeps in to keep us from even taking a step. We become so taken back by our responsibility to be truth to the world that we can’t even be truth to the few people surrounding us. The fathers of the faith, the very apostles who walked on the ground that Jesus did, had to start somewhere. At some point, they had to acknowledge that they didn’t have what it takes to be his heirs to the kingdom. Yet, with the breath of Christ within us, we are given the means to be the truth, the salt, the light, that is so very necessary to this world. There is no better time than now to begin to get ourselves out of the way so that this purpose can be fulfilled in our lives. May we begin to allow Jesus take root in our daily interactions with people and may we find the courage to take the baby steps that are necessary for any sort of change to occur. As Dorothy Day puts it, “People say, ‘What is the sense of our small effort?’ They cannot see that we must lay one brick at a time, take one step at a time. A pebble cast into a pond causes ripples that spread in all directions. Each one of our thoughts, words, and deeds is like that. No one has a right to sit down and feel hopeless. There’s too much work to do.”
HEY GUYS!! I have come across an idea! I have officially been inspired! Last night I went to a concert in KC that really impacted me and I would like to share my joy with all you guys. So I saw For King and Country, Jason Castro, Dara Maclean, and Heavens to Betsy perform live and are all now officially on tour driving from coast to coast. Well this was pretty exciting to me for multiple reason: This is my first show I’ve seen since I’ve been here at MNU, and it was the first show of these guys’ tour (Proof of Your Love Tour) and they’re all pretty well known; Jason Castro was actually a competitor on American Idol; For King and Country and Dara Maclean are on K-Love all the time; Heavens to Betsy was a group of some amazingly musically talented guys. They all had amazing performances and had some very unique styles about each and every one of them.
Now what inspired me wasn’t the performance, it wasn’t their musical talent, and it wasn’t even necessarily the message they had shared between the songs with us. What inspired me was that here were some people who loved what they were doing; they loved worshiping God and sharing their stories with the world. This shows me that God takes what we love, He takes our hopes, our talents, He takes our dreams and our aspirations, and He makes them into something phenomenal that works for His kingdom. This is awesome to me because I know God can use me. God can take me, mold me, and make me into something awesome using nothing other than myself.
At MNU we are focusing this year on the “Kingdom Within.” That God’s kingdom is inside each and every one of us. This inspiration I found ties in with that. God’s heaven on earth is in our dreams and our hopes. So what dreams and hopes do you have? What talents and skills did God give you to use for His glory? Take what inspires you and use your talents to then inspire others. Once we do that, once we take our aspirations and give them to God and say “this is for you father,” is when we will truly become part of the Kingdom that God has for us! So don’t be afraid to be dorky sometimes, or to sing even if you don’t know how. Don’t be afraid to finally pick up that paint brush and teach yourself to paint like you’ve always said you wanted to. Just don’t be afraid to run for your dreams, because it’s through your dreams where God’s inspiration truly springs.
There is something quite unique about being in a completely new environment. Everything known before is shifted, and every interaction, every detail, every moment is filled with learning. In no other place does it become so clear to you that your only consistency is the Lord, and in no other place are you able to find a mind clear enough to fully examine yourself.
Studying abroad in Europe this summer was the trip of a lifetime. The memories I was able to make in that beautiful place will never be forgotten. Whether it was train rides, long walks in the country, thousand-year old churches, intentional conversation, hiking in the Alps, walking through palaces, eating at street-side cafés, exploring museums, or running in rain, these moments created such a beautiful experience for me. I am so thankful for having had the opportunity to broaden my horizons and take on a new adventure.
Obviously, Europe is freaking cool, but in life, be the one who’s willing to risk and to take on the new challenge. As the Swiss always say, “No Risk, No Fun.”
Today is my very first post of many to come! I am so excited to get to share with you all a glimpse of what my life looks like throughout this coming year!
I guess an introduction is in order… Kelsey Rae Cranford is my name and I am a junior here at good ol’ MidAmerica. I am studying Sociology and Psychology and have yet to discover what to do with all that yet. Regardless, I absolutely love what I’m learning and love how it challenges me every day. I’m from Manhattan, KS, and have the most amazing family I could ever ask for—two sisters who bring the hilarity and parents who model true love every day. I am no one extraordinary, but simply a young woman who is learning how to love the Lord. I love me some people time, especially deep, intentional conversation. I love being outside, especially on sunny days with a high of 75 or really any day within spring or fall. Music inspires me and if I had the time during the semester I would read more (I’m not talking textbooks). The people who are most important to me are those who challenge me. I am that person who laughs at everybody else’s jokes but has no one laugh at mine. People-watching is a hobby of mine as well as scaring people when the opportunity so presents itself. And lastly, I have 11 cavities. Real talk.
All in all, I am so stoked for all that is to come and to give you a peak into MidAmerica life! Welcome to my reality!
My name is Phillip Prado and I’m a freshman here at MidAmerica Nazarene University. I’m majoring in Youth and Family Ministries but who knows what degree I will graduate with? God has a funny way of changing people’s plans doesn’t he? I guess that’s at least true for me. And MNU has already been a place of “changed plans.” I hear story after story of people who made plans for themselves and God is taking them and using them in His plan. It’s humbling seeing how little control we, as humans, actually have. That’s why I chose to go to school here at MidAmerica. I know I can fulfill my purpose for God here. He’s moving in this school and I am very proud to be a witness of that movement. I’m even more proud to be involved in that movement. Whether it’s as a Blogger, doing one of MNU’s ministerial groups, or even in just simple fellowship with my friends and class mates. I know God will use me in any way He can. God loves every single one of us and the moment we begin to truly live like that is truth will be the moment we begin to live for God. I look forward to my future here and I hope I will embrace it with open arms and live in God’s light as much as possible. My name is Phillip Prado, I’m a freshman at MNU, and if there’s one thing I really want you to know about me it’s this: God loves me, He sent his son to die for me, and I will spend the rest of my life, in every way I can, in every situation, living like that’s the truth and sharing that truth with the world.